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U.S. News ranks Whitefish third among Montana high schools

Daily Inter Lake | August 30, 2023 12:00 AM

Whitefish High School ranked third among Montana public high schools for the second consecutive year, according to the U.S. News & World Report 2023 Best High Schools.

The rankings showcase schools whose students demonstrate outstanding outcomes, surpassing anticipated benchmarks, including achieving high graduation rates.

In Montana, 173 public high schools were reviewed and 83 earned rankings.

Bozeman High School ranked in the top spot and Lone Peak High School at No. 2. Rounding out the state’s top five is Red Lodge High School at No. 4 and Manhattan High School, No. 5.

In Kalispell, Glacier High School came in at No. 11 and Flathead High School at No. 21.

Other area high school rankings are — Libby High School No. 28, Polson No. 40, Columbia Falls High School No. 50, Ronan No. 53 and Bigfork High School No. 57.

Nationally, 17,680 high schools, including charter, magnet and preparatory schools, out of nearly 25,000 reviewed, earned rankings.

In the national rankings, Whitefish came in at No. 1,752. Glacier ranked No. 3,311. Flathead ranked No. 6,140. Columbia Falls came in at No. 11,546 and Bigfork, No. 12,611.

High-ranking public schools had students who achieved exceptional scores in state assessments for math, reading and science. These schools also showed strong performances among their underserved student population, college readiness and curriculum breadth as well as graduation rates, according to

College readiness specifically measures participation and performance on Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams. Underserved student performance focuses on students who are Black, Hispanic or from low-income households. The report also used Common Core exam data to calculate rankings.

In its methodology, schools were evaluated on six factors that were weighted as follows: college readiness (30%), state assessment proficiency (20%), state assessment performance (20%), underserved student performance (10%), college curriculum breadth (10%) and graduation rate (10%). The report adjusts for the impact the pandemic had on assessment data in the 2020-21 school year, according to U.S. News.

In a state-by-state comparison, Montana came in at No. 31. State rank was determined by the total percentage of a state's ranked schools that were in the top 25%, which varied greatly, according to U.S. News.

“Having access to a strong high school program is paramount for students as they

face an ever-changing world,” U.S. News Managing Editor of Education Liana Loewus said in a press release. “Making data on our high schools available helps parents ensure their child is in the educational environment that best sets them up to thrive.”

To view a complete list of ranked schools visit

Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or